Middle-Infielders shine on both sides of the ball tonight as the Toronto Blue Jays ride a strong Stroman start to a victory.
Cleveland Indians: 2 R, 8 H, 0 E
Toronto Blue Jays: 4 R, 6 H, 1 E
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 8, 2017
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) May 8, 2017
Edwin Encarnacion‘s return to the Rogers Centre was always going to be an emotional experience for both him and the fans. After some pre-game tributes, his first at-bat was the time for fans to show their appreciation.
Great moment: Blue Jays fans salute EE in the top of the second. pic.twitter.com/GrVnmgD7Ef
— #VoteTribe 5x a day (@Indians) May 8, 2017
The middle-infielders got the ball rolling for the offense tonight. The rally started with a Devon Travis double over the right-fielders head with one out. Then with two outs and a 2-2 count Ryan Goins (3rd) took a hanging curveball from Bauer and deposited it into the second deck in right. When it landed 439 feet later, Toronto was up 2-0.
The offense added another pair of runs in the third inning when Kendrys Morales followed a Kevin Pillar walk with a double to set up a second and third situation for Justin Smoak. The first baseman then took a 2-1 pitch and dropped a single over a drawn in infield to cash in both runners for a 4-0 lead. Additionally, Smoak made a great read on the throw to the plate by committing himself to a rundown to help keep the throw from going through.
Marcus Stroman was battling his way through dicey sixth inning when he gave a hard drive to centrefield to Jose Ramirez with runners on the corners. What looked like a bad situation off the bat, turned into another Kevin Pillar highlight reel moment. This was perhaps the best of his long line of terrific catches.
Stroman would give the Blue Jays six strong innings of shutout baseball over the Indians tonight. As per usual he utilized the defense behind to do so. With the help of the grab mentioned above, he was also helped by three double plays from the middle infield tandem of Goins and Travis.
Stroman’s final line of the night would read as: 6 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K. His effort would lower his ERA to 3.38 for the season.
After surrendering a 2-run single to his first batter, Joe Smith, ended the his inning of work by striking out both Encarnacion and Ramirez to preserve Toronto’s 4-2 lead.
Roberto Osuna would come on in the ninth to secure his fifth save of the season. His outing would include two ground balls and a strikeout.
Though he is not typically known for his strong defensive skills in the outfield, Steve Pearce, outdid himself a tad this evening by over-running a fly ball to the wall. It wasn’t a particularly difficult play that was turned into a double to start the inning.
Danny Barnes got into some trouble in the eighth, his second inning of work, when he surrendered a walk to the lead off hitter Roberto Perez, and surrendering a double to Carlos Santana before being lifted for, Joe Smith.
Smith would give up an RBI single to the first batter he faced in Francisco Lindor, and then things got weird. The throw from Jose Bautista was cut-off and Lindor was trapped in a rundown between first and second. After deciding to concede the run, Travis made inadvertent contact with Lindor in the base path and was called for interference. The play ended with Lindor at second without an out being recorded, and the lead cut to 4-2.
#BlueJays place Russell Martin on DL with irritation in left shoulder, bring up Mike Ohlman from triple-A Buffalo – Shi Davidi
- Mike Bolsinger is in
#BlueJays clubhouse, presumably to start tomorrow. – Shi Davidi
Player of the Game
Great win for Toronto as the Jays take Game 1 from Cleveland. Who's your @JaysFromCouch Player of the Game?
— Roy-Z ☘ (@rolewiii) May 9, 2017
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Wade is a long time baseball fan who has been involved with the game for over 30 years. Including as a former college player, amateur pitching coach, and blogger.